World Suicide Prevention Day

“The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined,” according to statistics released by the IASP.
Today marks the 10th anniversary of World Suicide Prevention Day. For the past ten years, the International Association for Suicide Prevention along with many other organizations, have dedicated their time and work to educating others on this topic, in hopes of saving lives and preventing the numbers from rising.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly one million people worldwide die by suicide each year; over the span of a year, that amounts to one death every 40 seconds. It is also one of the leading causes of death among young people. Suicide is estimated to be under-reported for many reasons, one of them including the stigma surrounding the topic in societies across the world.

Suicide is preventable. In many cases, those who take their own lives have never sought out medical help or shared their feelings with family or friends. Many people who commit suicide have attempted before.

The effects that suicide has on family and friends of the loved one are immeasurable and can have detrimental effects on those left behind. Today, I ask you to reach out to someone. Tell them how much they mean to you, be willing to open up your eyes and listen to what people around you are telling you.

Tonight, at 8 pm, I ask you to light a candle near a window in your home, apartment, or bedroom. This candle signifies your support of suicide prevention. It also honors surivors of suicide and is a way to remember those who have lost their lives to suicide.

Today is simply one day out of the year to show your support. Speak up. Open up. Save a life.


Internalizing an External Problem

It happens all too often: you don’t get the job after a great interview or the love of your life walks out on you. Something happens in the real world that may be out of one’s control, and yet they blame themselves for the problem. While most of us choose to dwell on the topic for a day or a week and eat a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s, others take the matter to a worse extreme.

Since the recession hit, reports have shown that suicide rates are on the rise. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that over 800,000 people kill themselves every year and what is possibly due to the economic circumstances, these numbers have only gotten higher, especially in the Western World. In countries like Ireland, Portugal, and Greece the suicides rates have risen 15 percent in 2011 as compared to the numbers from 2007.

The reports also showed that countries with citizens who have a higher income have lower suicide rates due to the fact that these people may not feel the repercussions as much as a person in a less-wealthy country. The numbers not only show how much of a toll the economy is taking on people, but they also show just how materialistic our world has become.

A writer in the Netherlands spoke of internalizing problems in our world today,the external problems of economic recessions … is often internalized, largely because the media, politicians, priests and sages insist that any calamities that befall on the individual are her/his fault and not a structural or institutional problem. Therefore, the sense of guilt, self-hatred, and pain is so intense that to stop the hurt, the individual must kill the self, instead of pointing to the predatory institutional system as the root of the problem.”

Although I am not trying to downplay the problems happening all over the world in our economy today, there are many ways of dealing with this problem other than ending your life. There are social media support groups and outlets everywhere; many other people are struggling with much of the same problem. As we have recently seen, it doesn’t matter who you are, suicide and depression are affecting people all over the world on a daily basis. Help someone you see struggling today and don’t let someone you know become another statistic.